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Old 8th October 2008, 21:36   #1
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Default Kalpa, Chitkul Conquered

Before I start the log, some credits, Special thanks to anup sir for Info and Tau for encouragement and yeah Tanveer sir for contacts of genuine mechanic for sorting out the issues in the car.


The plan for a holiday was there in our minds since our fully loaded family trip previous winter which was limited to lower heights due to 8 people in our Omni(2 family together).This time just we 3 wanted to do this, after so many ideas, suggestions and confusion(online/offline). I booked up HPTDC The Hatu, Narkanda and Kinner Kailash, kalpa and nothing for Sangla/Chitkul.

Day 1- 2nd October 2008:

As per the plan we left early at 4.30 am, just half an hour late from the actual departure time. No waste of time in tanking up as it was done previous night, with almost all the things planned (except for the last day accomodation). First 125 kms were pretty quick, crossed Karnal by 6 or so, thanks to the new flyover at Panipat and relatively zero traffic on Karnal bypass and Ring Road. Didn’t feel like stopping at Zhilmil because we had just started to enjoy the drive and weren’t tired/hungry at all.



Must be close to Three digit speeds, pic taken by sis.


Racing with the Train, I lost
Next point was Ambala which we reached pretty early 7.45 or so. Kept on driving at 80-90 km/hr despite not so smooth NH-1, NH-22 from Ambala was awesome, newly laid and just so smooth that I couldnt resist driving at 80ish speeds and touching three digits twice.

Even after reaching Zirakpur there was no traffic, I was surprised as Panchkula, Kalka and Parwanoo were completely empty, we were happy as there was no traffic, but we were clueless about the real trouble coming up.

As soon as we crossed to Himachal the trouble began, the roads were broken and uneven till Shimla and when we drove through the bypass the real mess began, bad roads, no roads and terrible back breaking roads. Reached Narkanda by 4 PM, earlier we had our brunch at Giani Dhaba, Dharmpur. Tanked up the car before Shimla.


Saw the Kalka-Shimla train so cute..


The train was pretty fast or was I busy taking pics, donno!

My Dear Omni..

First stop after pathetic Shimla bypass

Lost in Fog.

Freshened up and relaxed at the hotel lawns till late evening. The views were nice and was very soothing sitting outside, sipping tea and having tasty pakoras and cutlet after that 12hr back breaking ride. Slept early as we had a very long drive the next day to kalpa.

Day 2- 3rd October:

Early morning start from Hatu.


Got up early and were ready by 8 am, confirmed route details and road conditions in the hotel and drove to Hatu Peak. The road was seriously fun to drive on and took sometime to reach the PWD-RH at the top. The engine did stall twice due to late gear change but managed well. Spent some good time there and clicked some pics and visited the temple there and started our journey towards kalpa.

Hatu peak view

Narkanda-Rampur was in excellent condition with minor landslides on the way, had our brunch at HPTDC Rampur and tanked up at Rampur itself.

Satluj River

River again

Now the real fun began following the Satluj river the roads were mixed bag of good and bad, then came the pathetic dam construction site, Wangtoo-Karchham portion was non-existent and more time wasted in covering this part of NH-22.

Waterfall on the way..!

Beautiful as well as BAD Roads..



Our Companion

Turbulent river

After close to a km from the last bridge after the dam site, the BRO/CISF people suddenly stopped us as they were clearing up the landslide which occurred sometime back. I reversed in order to save my poor car from any damage, now as soon as they clean up the rocks more rocks came down on the road. In sometime the whole hill portion came down on the road with very huge rocks which took close to 2 hrs to clean up. Thanks to these people was the road was completely blocked if they hadn’t worked on it we would have to return back. HUGE line up of Cars, Buses, and Trucks. It was completely dark by the time we reached Powari, the drive to Recong Peo and kalpa was incident free and both of them were scraed as nothing was visible except where the headlight reached. Took sometime to locate Kinner Kailash as we couldnt find any one for directions. Chose our room, luggage parked and dozed off to sleep after dinner.

Time majorly wasted in Landslide site due to work and Traffic Jam that occurred after the road was opened.

Day 3 and 4 soon..

Last edited by setuniket : 8th October 2008 at 21:45.
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Old 8th October 2008, 22:26   #2
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Good account. Did you drive down from Patna/Kolkata? How was the drive to Delhi? Is the flyover at Zirakpur complete?
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Old 8th October 2008, 22:39   #3
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Nice travelogue with good pics. Omni is a great car/van to take to the hills. Provides an allround view for all the passengers. The front tyre seems a bit worn out, is it?

Reminds me of my days with the Omni. I bought one(used) just after 6 months of joining my first job and kept it for 7 years.

Looking forward for the rest of the travelogue.
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Old 8th October 2008, 22:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Good account. Did you drive down from Patna/Kolkata? How was the drive to Delhi? Is the flyover at Zirakpur complete?
Thanks hv sir, No I didnt, I am currently based in Noida. The flyover at Zirakpur is still not complete.

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Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Nice travelogue with good pics. Omni is a great car/van to take to the hills. Provides an allround view for all the passengers. The front tyre seems a bit worn out, is it?

Reminds me of my days with the Omni. I bought one(used) just after 6 months of joining my first job and kept it for 7 years.

Looking forward for the rest of the travelogue.
Thanks, Yeah the front tyre is worn off from outside, it was my mistake, didnt get the tyre alignment done after trip to Mussorie/Dehradun last year. Now I get the alignment done religiously in every service and before/after every long trip. I have inherited this vehicle is from my dad, its 1997 carb model.
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Old 9th October 2008, 00:45   #5
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Nice trip you have had. HP never ceases to amaze me, you never run out of tourist spots there it seems. Nice to see an OMNI grace a travelogue.
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Old 9th October 2008, 08:31   #6
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Good one man.
Quote:
Must be close to Three digit speeds
How did you feel during this speed? I have never driven more than 60 in an omni So, asking.
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Old 9th October 2008, 11:24   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
Nice trip you have had. HP never ceases to amaze me, you never run out of tourist spots there it seems. Nice to see an OMNI grace a travelogue.
Thanks, I completely agree, Himachal is truly amazing, although less explored by us. Will do more trips in upcoming times.

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Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Good one man.

How did you feel during this speed? I have never driven more than 60 in an omni So, asking.

Thanks, the car was perfectly stable, there were no cross winds and Goodyear provided stability and nice grip. The car at no point felt shaky or unstable which was the case with stock MRF's at such speeds.
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Old 10th October 2008, 11:15   #8
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Sorry for the delay, am not well so took some time to write the log.

Day 3 4th October 2008:

This day was reserved for Kalpa, we were tired after the long 2 day drive, went to sleep early(9PM) and woke up by 6am or so. Went out of the lawn outside the cottage and was disappointed to see the whole mountain range covered with dark clouds, but as the sun rose the whole range became visible, its was beautiful to see the range with the peaks and covered with snow all over.

Early morning view from the lawn


The Peak.

Snow all over

The Peak again.
The cottage is covered with apple orchards all around, took out the camera and started shooting, the peaks orchard, playing with the settings of the camera. We sat on the lawn and enjoyed the views with tea, had late breakfast and decided to stroll around. Walked along the road to quite some distance and getting into apple orchards and talking to the farmers and was enlightened with all the info, some more clicks and were back in the room post lunch.

Close up shot.
Called for Tea in afternoon and some more clicks with the peaks changing color every hour and especially before sunset the peaks were so beautiful that it can’t be described, the real experience is being there and actually enjoying the view. This was after so long that we were so close to snow capped peaks (last was in Gangtok in 1999), it felt like you can extend your hand and touch the snow and play with it.

Observed a unique phenomenon, there was snow early morning and by noon only traces of snow was left, by afternoon it was almost snow free mountain, by late evening clouds came following the Satluj River and covered the peaks and next morning there was snow again. It’s like the peaks have there own local weather system completely immune from everything.

Spend rest of the time relaxing, watching idiot box and slept early as we were clueless of the long journey ahead.
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Old 10th October 2008, 11:20   #9
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Day 3 Continued:
Some more pics.

Our Cottage

Snow

Clouds moving in

snow melted and clouds to cover the peaks again

Covering the peaks
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Old 10th October 2008, 12:42   #10
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Day 4 5th October 2008:

This was the day; we were ready on time and checked out of Hotel by 8.30 as we had to travel back to Delhi today. But the people suggested that we must not miss sangla and chitkul “Jab itni dur aaye ho sir to do visit Chitkul” and he even suggested staying at HPTDC Rampur. Nice suggestion we thought. But we had some other things coming up. Drove towards Powari and joined NH 22 in no time, all mentally ready for the bad roads ahead.


Sunrise at Kalpa

Reached Karchamm and joined the road to sangla as suggested by all, roads are in mixed condition, bad initially and newly laid after sometime, the roads at times were dangerous as we move ahead, becoming narrow at times, had to reverse for the bus coming from Sangla. Thereafter reached sangla in no time, the drive to chitkul was rather more beautiful and amazing took some photo-stops and moved ahead.

Road to Chitkul, post Sangla
Just after the ITBP check post there was one incline where I did the mistake of down shifting late and the car stalled, now here we were lil frightened, the car refused to crank, reason the fuel tank was little above one-fourth level and it seemed that fuel is not reaching the pump or carb, slowly reversed the car and took it to flat surface and tried starting, poor car started with some effort and then drove more carefully as I knew there is no pump in this route and we have to get back on NH 22 for fuel.

Reached Chitkul by 12 or so, initially was confused where to park the car as there were all taxis and nothing else, parked next to a guest house and straight away sat in a small restaurant and ordered tea we were hungry and asked ‘khane mein kya hai’ reply came ‘sab kuch, aap bolo kya chaiye’ I was like, decided to stick to the person’s suggestion and ordered aloo Parathas. The Parathas turned out to very tasty, maybe because we were hungry or some other reason. The views were so beautiful but we had long distance to go, spend good time sitting outside the GH and decided to walk down to the Baspa River. The river was not so calm but very nice, sat there for close to an hour in silence trying to soak in all the beauty and calmness of the place.


View from the GH

Walk down to Baspa river
Some more photos and walked up to the village; the walk upwards became difficult for both Mom and Sis as they were out of breath in only half the way. I walked down to give them water and then accompanied them till the car. Got some chocolates for them, so that they get energy after that tiring walk. Started the return journey by 2 pm, I saw the fuel gauge which was below the one fourth mark by now. I was confident enough that I will be able to reach a petrol pump on the National Highway.

After joining the NH again my quest for pump began by to my surprise there is was no pump, asked locals on the way who said that the next pump is only in Jhakri, decided to take the risk to drive up to Jhakri but as soon as we crossed Jeori saw an old pump and bought close to 10 lts of fuel.

The real trouble began as we crossed the Jhakri town, there was a huge line of vehicles waiting for the landslide to clear up, surprisingly there was no vehicle in the opposite side, I couldn’t understand the reason but after close to 45 mins the roads was opened and journey resumed towards Rampur, a kilometer ahead we encountered another landslide which was cleared up by the PWD/BRO people before we reached.

Maintained the pace and continued our journey to Rampur, just before the Rampur town encountered 3 pumps and 2 of them refused to sell fuel; I was shocked, only reply "no fuel". Only HP pump was selling 100 bucks for 4 wheeler and 50 bucks for 2 wheeler(reason that due to the landslides the fuel tanker didn’t reach this side till now ), bought fuel worth 100 bucks and saw the fuel guage which was close to one fourth, and our idea was that ascend was after Sainj and till Narkanda only, so we decide to take the risk of driving ahead and crossed Rampur by sunset and drove ahead.

The stretch was infested with landslides after every kilometer till narkanda, after that I was confused over the route to take, the drivers in kalpa had said that Kufri-Chail-Kandaghat stretch is in poor condition and when I saw the fuel guage it warned me not to take a stretch where fuel station is not present. At this time we decided to reach till Shimla as atleast we will have better accommodation and fuel pump option there, all of the fuel pumps before Shimla flatly refused to sell petrol.

I had one thing in my mind that it’s very important to cross over to shimla side as we were sure of no blockade or the roads will be opened with priority that side. Reached the tunnel to shimla and entered the city, saw an Indian Oil pump and tanked up for the last time.

At this point of time we were confused as to stay back in Shimla or push ourselves to Delhi, after discussions and arguments, we decide to push ourselves to Delhi, the reason being we were fed up of staying in hotel rooms and were confident enough to reach Delhi by 6-7 am in morning and go to sleep. We decided to cross the city and not go through the non-existent bypass.

Day 5 6th October 2008:

Mom went on to the rear seat so as to sleep while I continued driving and reach Solan in mid of night, missed the cut to bypass and entered the city as we crossed the city, encountered a Police check post. Now here cop was shocked to see two people sleeping behind and I driving and that too BR registered car(out station 'Van'). He was behaving as if we did some kind of mistake driving so late in night, asked me to come out with the papers of the vehicle.

Now I wasn’t expecting such behaviour by Himachal Police personnel, still remained calm for sometime but he wasn’t allowing us to go. That was it, I was driving since more than 17 hrs now and wasn’t in good mood. Showed him my id card and gave him my piece of mind about treating tourists and following law and then showed him all the documents and proof of my entry in Himachal and that we are not resident of Himachal.

He apologized and let us go. Now my mom decided to come in front as we would be entering Haryana in sometime where cops are notorious for the trouble they cause. Rest of the drive was rather very comfortable as there wasn’t any traffic till Ambala.

After we joined NH 1, the mad cat and mouse race began, there was this group of 5 buses who were driving like crazy, honking non-stop and blinding people with high beam. Initially I got stuck in the race by these people and then slowed down for them to cross, some kms ahead these guys stopped in a Dhaba and started there journey before I could cross them. I decided to tail them for increasing average speed, but these bus wallahs were in no mood to speed anymore, had to fight with them to over take and then drove at my pace. Felt Sleepy so decided to stop at Zhilmil, this time took a small nap for 30mins and woke up fresh to cover rest of the journey as any more rest meant more trouble in crossing Delhi. Sped again and reached Bypass by 7.15 or so by this time I was feeling sleepy and wasnt able to drive, stopped after Delhi border, washed my face and slowly drove to home by 8.30 or so.
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Old 10th October 2008, 12:48   #11
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Last day pics
Some more pics.

So close to the river

Slipped into the river, photo lene ke chakkar mein



Snow covered peak, all white

beautiful

Farming..
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